July 24, 2007


Via video, voters bluntly query Democratic field (Susan Milligan, July 24, 2007, Boston Globe)

Democratic presidential candidates were pelted last night with scores of questions from the people who will decide which of them becomes the Democratic nominee: American voters posed unapologetically blunt queries about race, gender, Iraq, and gay marriage.

The debate -- a first-of-its-kind forum that had voters framing questions through the Internet video site YouTube -- featured often anguished questions and equally passionate responses from the candidates, who for the first time spent two hours together contending with the frustrations and worries of ordinary voters.

Shedding the formality and deference often shown to the prominent office-holders on the stage at the Citadel military college in Charleston, S.C., men and women from Boston to Darfur were direct in their questions sent in the form of grainy, homemade videos: How can the United States pull out of Iraq with the situation there so unstable? Should women be subject to the draft? Do African-Americans deserve reparations for the enslavement of their forefathers? [...]

Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, after viewing a video from a gun owner who called his gun his "baby," appeared horrified before he reiterated his commitment to strong gun laws. "If that's his baby, he needs help," Biden said. "I don't know if he's mentally qualified to own that gun."

Dodd, asked if the Hurricane Katrina response would have been better if the affected region had not been heavily populated by poor and African-American people, said he believed the federal government response would have been quicker if the storm had hit a predominantly white area.

Global warming was also on voters' minds, with one questioner doing a voice-over for a snowman, who asked if his son -- a small snowman -- would survive climate change.

The candidates expressed their commitment to reducing global warming, but nearly all sheepishly raised their hands when asked if they took private jets to attend the debate. Kucinich said he did not; Gravel said, "I took the train."

The notion that such a self-selected cadre, as people who'd film questions for YouTube, is representative of the electorate is daft.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 24, 2007 8:05 AM

"Gravel said, "I took the train.""

Well, we now know who oj's supporting.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 24, 2007 9:20 AM

We also know who sponsored the questioner.

Thank heavens we're not a Democracy.

Posted by: Genecis at July 24, 2007 9:38 AM

I had not watched television in several years and happened to catch this misnomered "debate." It was like science fiction. Orwell's 1984 and Nancy Kress' Beggars in Spain all rolled into one. To say that it was daft and deviod of any real discussion of real issues is to state the obvious. To say that everyone in the Democratic field is a pathetic lightweight and that I'd trust my mom to run the country before any of these people is to bore my friends. A couple certainties emerged; none of them are educated or read anything; they have nothing but contempt for the people (they think we are idiots, because they are idiots); and finally, Hillary Clinton stands head and shoulders above the pack as the one person who in her heart would relish dropping a nuclear fusion device on a third-world city.

Posted by: J at July 24, 2007 10:46 AM

Dodd was accidentally correct. If the area in question hadn't been governed by corruption on an almost unimaginable scale, those in charge would have taken charge and put into effect the strategies already in place to save the lives and property of their constituencies.

Instead many like the mayor of New Orleans saved themselves and left blacks living in the marginal areas to fend for themselves, something they were never taught to do, so they watched the water rise as they meekly waited for help to arrive.

It was a very different picture in surrounding areas, many hit as hard by the storm, where residents of all the colors of the human race pitched in to help each other.

A greater indictment of the ghetto mentality couldn't be found.

Posted by: erp at July 24, 2007 11:09 AM

Are they less representative than the press folks usually picking the questions?

Posted by: Mike Earl at July 24, 2007 11:11 AM

They can have my baby when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 24, 2007 3:49 PM

I'll bet it's more representative of the current Democratic electorate than any (D) outside of CA, CT, DC, and MA would ever want to admit. Even the Dems in NY aren't that nutty (except for parts of Manhattan).

Posted by: ratbert at July 24, 2007 4:45 PM

Lou, be careful. Remember that line from "Men in Black." The alien responded, "The terms are acceptable" and it was bye-bye gun toter.

Posted by: erp at July 24, 2007 4:51 PM

Erp: I know. Gun folks joke about that line a lot.

It also came up in the anti-Communist classic, : a Russian paratrooper was shown doing just that from the hand of an American shot down at the back of his pick-up truck which, of course, bore a bumper sticker to that very effect.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 24, 2007 5:31 PM